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Speed Limiter & Automated Breaking To Become Standard Features.

Cars, vans, lorries and buses being sold fitted with a range of new vehicle safety features as standard, took a step closer this week after a provisional EU deal was reached in Strasbourg – with a view to bring the changes in from 2022. 

The new technologies to be fitted as standard under the new rules include; Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) and overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA),

More About The Standard-fit Technologies Being Proposed

ISA uses a combination of GPS data to locate the vehicle and the known current road speed limit to keep the drive within the speed limit. Although how this works in temporary speed limits could be of interest!

Using the Transport for London’s Direct Vision Standard as a guide, new lorries will also be required to have improved levels of ‘direct vision’, giving drivers a greater chance of seeing vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists around the vehicle.

The new rules also aim to tackle drink driving by making it easier to retrofit an alcohol interlock device – using technological solution for tackling repeat drink driving that is already in use in a number of EU Member States.

New vehicles will also be required to be fitted with Electronic Data Recorders. These will help identify conditions of the vehicle before a collision. Such information is vital to understanding why crashes occur and for preventing future collisions – and you would have to assume will be helpful to insurers in determining fault and resolving claims quicker.

How will the “b”-word affect this?

Britain is expected to follow the same rules, irrespective of Brexit.

As part of the process, researchers from TRL – the UK-based Transport Research Laboratory – conducted a cost-benefit evaluation the next generation of vehicle safety standards.

Richard Cuerden, head of TRL’s Academy, said:

 “The advanced safety measures for new vehicles will provide state of the art protection to all road users.

“Intelligent Speed Assistance and Drowsiness and Distraction Recognition will support drivers in their ongoing tasks. Autonomous Emergency Braking and Emergency Lane Keeping will intervene in the most critical situations to avoid a crash, and improved crash tests will ensure that injuries of occupants as well as pedestrians and cyclists are minimised in the remaining collisions.”

Negotiators from the European Parliament and European Commission agreed with representatives of EU Member State governments earlier this week on the final shape of the regulations first announced by the European Commission in May last year.

However, the negotiated deal is provisional and still subject to formal votes in the European Parliament and by EU Member States. Due to European Parliamentary elections in May – and so this could take a few more months. 

Commenting on the provisional deal, Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), said:

“There have only been a handful of moments in the last fifty years which could be described as big leaps forward for road safety in Europe. The mandatory introduction of the seat belt was one, and the first EU minimum crash safety standards, agreed in 1998 was another. If yesterday’s agreement is given the formal green light in September, it will represent another of those moments, preventing 25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force.”

“Although this legislation was many years in the planning stages, there has been relatively little time for political discussions over its final shape.

“We would like to pay tribute to the MEPs and representatives of the Commission and Member States that have worked tirelessly to get a deal done before the big changeover at the European Parliament and European Commission this summer. In particular the Romanian EU presidency, European Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Violeta Bulc, and the Polish MEP Róża Thun deserve recognition for their commitment to seeing this legislation through.

Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the EC, also believes that the new vehicle safety legislation will have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced.

She concluded:

“Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high-end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future.”

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, added: “It should be remembered that excessive speeding is a factor in 14% of fatal crashes whereas human error is present in 64%. Speed limiters have a role to play but on their own cannot eliminate all crashes.

“Advanced drivers don’t need to be reminded electronically what the speed limit is, but for others it could be a real life-saver, and help people not lose their driving licences at the same time.

“ISA as proposed for all new cars after 2022 will be overrideable so it is not the ‘big brother’ solution that some sources suggest.

“IAM RoadSmart believe the EU package of measures is important for road safety. Drivers and fleets can lead the way by specifying options such as autonomous braking tomorrow.”

What are your thoughts on these rules? Can you foresee any issues? Let us know your thoughts on these rule changes in the comments below.